Schedule

THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY

THURSDAY, JULY 3

 12:30 CONvergence for the Extreme Introvert  Plaza 1
Olivia James, Ben Ellis, Jenn Baye
Suggestions on how to survive and thrive (room parties, anyone?) at CONvergence when you’re not a fan of huge crowds.
 12:30 Food Allergies at CONvergence: How to Cope Atrium 3
Brianne Bilyeu, Richard Wielgosz, Karl Tingelstad, Marie Porter, Renee Petersen
You have a food allergy, yet are trying to survive from the limited opportunities at CONvergence: how do you cope? What can you safely bring, keep, and prepare in a hotel room?
2:00 Bones  Plaza 3
Mary Myers, Skatje Myers, PZ Myers
Discover what an owl had for dinner! Dissect an owl pellet to solve the mystery and reveal clues about the owl’s diet and predator/prey relationships. What types of bones will you find in your pellet?
5:00 Art as Therapy Atrium 3
Ashley Hamer, Olivia James, Laramie Sasseville, Kris Halseth, Shawn van Briesen
Many people find creating and performing art and music to be therapeutic in personal ways. Art and Music Therapy are also formal programs with multiple uses. What is the basis for these various kinds of therapy and how useful are they?
7:00 Not Men or Women: Everyone Else in Fiction Atrium 7
Elizabeth Bear, Haddayr Copley-Woods, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Benny S, Kameron Hurley
Not all characters need to be male or female! Explore the gender binary and how it can be, and has been, subverted in fictional universes and in reality. We will discuss common tropes and ways gender could be explored better in all fictional media.
7:00 The Science and Art of Bioluminescence Plaza 3
Siouxsie Wiles
Draw your masterpiece in glowing bacteria! Participants will have the opportunity to create artwork using glowing bacteria on a petri dish. We will then take a photograph of the resulting artwork for participants to download from Flickr.
7:00 Worst Pseudoscience of All Time: A Skepchick Debate Plaza 1
Rebecca Watson (mod), Amy Roth, Nicole Gugliucci, Dr Rubidium, Jamie Bernstein
Homeopathy or Reiki? ESP or Intelligent Design? Each Skepchick will choose a different pseudoscience to argue as the stupidest of all time, and the audience will choose the winner by applause.
8:30 Green is Not Diversity Edina
Dr Rubidium, Shaun Duke, Benny S, Aimee Kuzenski, Laura Zats
Why is it always aliens vs. white guys? Diversity is coming, but why is it taking so long? Why do some characters get rewritten to be Caucasian?
8:30 When Science Isn’t Your Friend Plaza 1
Stephanie Zvan (mod), Caleph Wilson, PZ Myers, Mary Brock, Debbie Goddard
When has science hurt people in reality and what has that taught us about how science should be practiced? We’ll discuss everything from the Tuskegee experiments and Henrietta Lacks to continuing issues like surgery on intersex babies.
10:00 Saberhagen’s Dracula Atrium 3
Paul Weimer, Stephanie Zvan
Fred Saberhagen wrote a series of books from Dracula’s point of view, including The Dracula Tape, Old Friend of the Family, and more. We’ll discuss his work, particularly the more complicated moral portrayal of vampires.
10:00 Sci-Fail: The Skepchick Movie Review Edina
Rebecca Watson, Ryan Consell (mod), Nicole Gugliucci, Siouxsie Wiles, Dr Rubidium
A panel of experts reviews some of the best but mostly the worst moments in science found in recent cinematic offerings.
11:30 Non-Monogamous Relationship Structures Plaza 1
Lyndzi Miller, Benny S, Heina Dadabhoy, Daisy F, Samantha Bitner
Polyamorous relationships are portrayed in multiple ways, from Sister Wives to the works of Robert Heinlein. We’ll discuss the similarities and differences between fictional depictions and real life non-monogamy.
11:30 Physics of Impossible Costumes Atrium 7
Ryan Consell, Sarah Barsness, Marie Porter, Karine Charlebois, Christopher Jones
We’ll discuss the physics of our favorite highly unlikely costumes, from unreal women’s shapes and male upper bodies to unrealistic body armor.

THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY

Friday, July 4

9:30 Artist Egos Atrium 4
Amy Roth, Mona Montague, Ashley Hamer, Beth Voigt
Artists tie their identity to art in ways those in many other fields do not. We’ll discuss imposter syndrome, dealing with thinking we’re the best until someone better comes along, and how to overcome psychological obstacles to flourish as artists.
9:30 Real Monsters Edina
Brianne Bilyeu, Ryan Consell, Matt Kuchta, Siouxsie Wiles, PZ Myers
Reality is stranger than fiction. The deep seas and uncharted lands hold unimaginably bizarre creatures. This panel explores some of the strangest, ugliest, and most unlikely creatures known to live.
11:00 Women in STEM Atrium 6
Skatje Myers, Michelle Cadieux, Nicole Gugliucci, Siouxsie WilesBeth Voigt
Women in STEM discuss women’s current work and achievements in these fields as well as the future. How do we get more women in STEM and why does it matter? What are the challenges and opportunities girls and women face and how is this changing?
12:30 Ask a Scientist Edina
Bug Girl, Dr Rubidium, Matt Kuchta, PZ Myers, Lathan Murrell
A general Q & A with expert scientists from a variety of fields.
12:30 Edible Astronomy Plaza 3
Nicole Gugliucci
Astronomy is the study of things far away, but you can explore moons, planets, and spaceships with materials you have in your own kitchen!
12:30 Show Us Your Ugly Things Plaza 1
Amy Roth, Ashley Hamer, Ryan Consell, Anne Sauer, Emily Finke
Do you make art that nobody’s ever seen? Do you play music only in the safety of your bedroom? A team of artists from Mad Art Lab will discuss ways to get over your fear of failure and show you why you should be proud of even your ugliest creations.
2:00 Creating Convincing Magic Systems in Urban Fantasy Edina
Adam Stemple, Ryan Consell, Tyler Tork, Roy C. Booth, Ozgur K. Sahin
How do you incorporate technology into your magic, and vice-versa.
2:00 Grounded Parenting Plaza 1
Tammy Anderson, Daisy F, Melanie Mallon, Katie Anderson, Mary Brock
How do busy parents sort through the mounds of parenting information and advice available today? We’ll debunk myths and discuss how we cope with the realities and societal expectations parents and children face every day.
2:00 X-Files Retrospective Atrium 3
Cetius d’Raven (mod), Allyson Cygan, Nicole Gugliucci, Danielle Indovino, Daren Johnson
Mulder and Scully continue to be pop-culture touchstones, and X-Files remains one of the best examples of Urban Sci-Fi ever televised. What made this show so successful?
5:00 Alien Conspiracy Theories Atrium 6
JD Horn, Jason Thibeault, Nicole Gugliucci, PZ Myers, Scott Lynch
The truth is out there, and we’ll help you find it! We’ll cover a wide range of alien-centric conspiracy theories and discuss the implications these have on individuals and society at large.
5:00 Crafting While You’re Fanning Atrium 2
Ryan Consell, Brandy Danaki, Julie Bowman, Michael Zecca, Lyndzi Miller
Using crafts to explore your fandom. How do you express your fannish nature through your crafts?
5:00 Paranormal Romance vs. Urban Fantasy Bloomington
Ashley F. Miller, Cetius d’Raven (mod), Emma Bull, Melissa Olson, Rory Ni Coileain
With the popularity of paranormal romance, has romance become a fixture in most urban fantasy to a degree? What about the combo of romance, action, and magic keeps drawing readers? What’s out there for readers who want less kissing and more butt-kicking?
7:00 Coming Out Atheist Bloomington
Ashley F. Miller, Heina Dadabhoy, PZ Myers, Debbie Goddard, Brianne Bilyeu
Join us to discuss what it’s like to come out as an atheist in various parts of the country, with different religious backgrounds, and the intersection for many of us with coming out in other ways, such as in sexual orientation and gender identity.
7:00 Superheroes in Our Modern-Day Pantheons Plaza 2
David Schwartz, Jason Thibeault, Roy T Cook, Jonathan Palmer, Ryan Consell
Nobody really worships Hercules or Thor as Greek and Norse gods anymore, but don’t despair, because now they’re both members of The Avengers. This panel will explore the commonalities and differences between our ancient and modern pantheons.
7:00 Teens Ask a Scientist Plaza 1
Matt Lowry, Steve Theiss, Jenn Baye, Dan Berliner, Caleph Wilson
Our panel of scientists will answer questions, with the answers geared for the teen crowd.
7:00 Time Travel Theory Atrium 4
Greg Weisman, Nicole Gugliucci, Jim Kakalios, G. David Nordley, Amy Berg
Let’s assume for a moment that Time Travel is possible. This panel will explore the theories behind such technology. We’ll explore quantum realities, temporal anomalies and all other challenges our theoretical time travelers will be facing!
8:30 Breaking Bad Science Edina
Amanda Leinbaugh, Rebecca Watson (mod), Dr Rubidium, Amanda Marcotte
We’ll discuss the science behind the murder, meth, and mayhem of the show, from chemistry to forensics, as well as the social science of the anti-hero–how “normal” people can end up doing terrible things, yet the audience still roots for them.
8:30 Good Food, Bad Food Atrium 2
Julia Burke, Chrissy Komjathy, Sari Hagen, Will Robertson, Courtney Caldwell
What are the ethical dimensions of our food choices? Is buying local really better than buying imported? What’s up with veganism? How do things like socioeconomic status, mental health, and disability intersect with the ethics of food consumption?
10:00 Things I Licked for Science Edina
Bug Girl, Emily Finke, Matt Kuchta, Desiree Schell (mod), Anne Sauer
Bugs, rocks, bones, and more–licking is a common methodology in more scientific fields than you’ve ever imagined. Come hear the stories and get a taste (literally and figuratively) of the what and the why from scientists across multiple disciplines.
10:00 Sexual Quandaries Atrium 4
Damarra A, Kethry Burke-Scovill, Jenn Baye, Chrissy Komjathy, Sigrid Ellis, Caitlin Ericson, Benny S, Sean Eberle, Samantha Bitner, Ken Akin, Lathan Murrell
Come discuss and learn about fetishes, sexual alternatives, and interests in an open, Geek-friendly forum where you are more than welcome to ask questions, define limitations, and find out just what the heck that even means.
11:30 It’s (Not) Written in the Stars Plaza 1
Jason Thibeault, Brianne Bilyeu, Dan Berliner, Matt Lowry, Nicole Gugliucci
We’ll explore the myths and beliefs of astrology and why some people still find it convincing in the modern age of science.
11:30 Superstimuli: My, What a Big _____ You Have! Bloomington
Emily Finke, Bug Girl, Sharon Stiteler, Matt Kuchta, PZ Myers
Doing stupid things to attract mates isn’t limited only to humans. From the peacock’s tail to the bird of paradise mating game, evolution itself makes animals go to ridiculous lengths for the sake of reproduction.
11:30 Tech Sex Atrium 2
Miri Mogilevsky, Lyndzi Miller, Heina Dadabhoy, Samantha Bitner, Catherine Lundoff
New technology is often used to explore sexuality and sexual identity; its more sexually charged uses often determine the course for technological innovations. We will explore the complex intersections of sexuality, gender, identity, and technology.
11:30 The Zombie Environment Atrium 4
Adam Stemple, Adam Whitlatch, Regan Wolfrom, Eric Staggs, Dr Rubidium
Since Romero, zombies have become a universal archetype for the decay of society. However, they’re usually just an environment for your characters to exist in.

THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY

Saturday, July 5

9:30 FitMyths Atrium 4
Julia Burke, Ashley Hamer, Heina Dadabhoy, Jamie Bernstein, Olivia James
Does kinesio tape work? Should you run during pregnancy? How many beers can you drink while running? We’ll discuss fitness science and myths as well as the fitness community, from Fitspiration, bro science, and paleo to fat shaming and support groups.
9:30 Kids Ask a Scientist Edina
Brianne Bilyeu, Camille McAloney, Nicole Gugliucci, Siouxsie Wiles, Lori Fischer
Our panel of scientists will answer questions, with the answers geared for the 12-and-under set.
11:00 Business of Art Atrium 4
Shawn van Briesen, Amy Roth, Bob Alberti, Marie Porter, Matthew Ebel
Join successful artists to discuss the business of art. How do you make a living with your art? What business skills do artists need to develop?
11:00 Evolution of Disney Princesses Edina
Ashley F. Miller, Kathryn Sullivan, Michelle Farley, Windy Bowlsby, Madeleine Rowe, Greg Guler
They started out helpless (Snow White), and now they’re shooting arrows. What changed, and why?
11:00 Science of Irrationality Plaza 1
Mary Brock, Bug Girl, Megan Press, Jamie Bernstein, Miri Mogilevsky
Your brain has been deceiving you all your life! Our brains often trick us into making irrational decisions and it does so in ways that are generally predictable. No one is immune, not even you. Come learn how your own brain has been misleading you.
12:30 Criticism and Empathy Online Bloomington
Miri Mogilevsky, Jason Thibeault, Wesley Chu, Kameron Hurley, Ted Meissner
When people abuse anonymity to give hurtful, damaging criticism, is this merely a failure of empathy, or is there something more there? How do you criticize people without triggering a flame war? Should you even TRY to avoid flame wars?
2:00 Song of Ice and Fire and SCIENCE! Atrium 6
Nicole Gugliucci, Rebecca Watson, Emily Finke, Dr Rubidium
How do you get a planet with such bizarre seasons? What’s the biological explanation for giant wolves, mammoths, and dragons? How does genetics work on Westerosi? We’ll discuss all this and more. (Some spoilers possible.)
3:30 Build a Better Iron Man Bloomington
Bill Stiteler (mod), Jim Kakalios, Michelle Cadieux, Matt Lowry, Ryan Consell
The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe described *everything* you need to build your own Iron Man armor and Mjolnir. How scientific were they?
3:30 Create a Real DNA Necklace Plaza 3
Mary Myers, PZ Myers, Skatje Myers
How do you extract DNA out of living things? What does your DNA look like? Find out and make a special necklace using your unique DNA!
5:00 Mental Illness Myths Atrium 4
Megan Press, Miri Mogilevsky, Julia Burke, Olivia James, Desiree Schell (mod)
Myths about mental illness pervade our society, including our health care system. We’ll examine research, clinical practice, and experiences on everything from psychiatric drugs and the “dangerous” mentally ill to how these myths dehumanize and harm.
5:00 Molecular Gastronomy: Play with your Food! Plaza 3
Anne Sauer
Foams, spheres, airs, and powders–molecular gastronomy is all the rage in fancy restaurants these days. Come learn the science behind these preparations, try your hand at a few of them, and delight your tastebuds with familiar foods in unfamiliar form
7:00 Geeks Without God Live Podcast Atrium 6
Tim Wick, Nick Glover, Dr Rubidium, Rebecca Watson, Molly Glover
Watch us record our anniversary episode!
7:00 Physics of the Whedonverse Plaza 1
Ashley F. Miller, Cetius d’Raven (mod), Emma Bull, Melissa Olson, Rory Ni Coileain
How much of the physics in Whedon’s work has parallels in reality? Scientists will discuss the physics behind everything from terraforming, stellar formation, space travel and alternate realities to magic, superpowers, and Buffy’s fighting ability.
8:30 Getting Away with Murder Atrium 7
Amanda Leinbaugh, Emily Finke, Bug Girl, Dr Rubidium, Desiree Schell (mod)
How accurate is the forensic science in TV shows, movies, and books? How do criminal databases actually work? What is the Prosecutor’s Fallacy? Can you get DNA evidence from crab lice? Scientists discuss the real science behind forensic investigations.
8:30 Obsessed Comedy Podcast: Cats Edition Plaza 1
Joseph Scrimshaw, Rebecca Watson, Tim Wick
Comedian/writer Joseph Scrimshaw’s podcast about liking things A LOT. Join Scrimshaw and guests Rebecca Watson and Tim Wick for a lively discussion of a very important geek obsession: CATS.
8:30 Organizing Online to Make a Better World: Do We Need to Tear the Old One Down? Edina
Miri Mogilevsky, Jason Thibeault, Beth Voigt, Stephanie Zvan, Debbie Goddard
Criticism and even rage blazing across social media has proven remarkably effective in getting complaints heard, but what are the downsides? How do we maintain communities when anger and volume get things done?
10:00 Invisible Aces Plaza 2
Olivia James, Nicole Forcine, Laura Thurston, Tex Thompson, Kethry Burke-Scovill
Sexuality is (as we all know) a sexy topic…unless you’re asexual. We’ll explore what it means to be asexual, some of the myths surrounding asexuality, and the particular difficulties and oppressions that asexual individuals face.
10:00 The Pub that Never Closes Atrium 7
Beth Voigt, William Donohue, Rory Ni Coileain, Dave Walbridge, Garrick Dietze
The World’s End. Callahan’s. Munden’s. These stories eventually wind up in a bar. Comedy, tragedy, action, skullduggery, and just what IS this I’m drinking? The daily grind of a bar back when literally ANYTHING can walk through the door.
10:00 Why Do We Believe in Ghosts? Atrium 3
Shawn van Briesen, Joel Arnold, Matt Lowry, Ruth Berman, Renate Fiora
Why do people, even some skeptics, still believe in ghosts? What accounts for the popularity of ghost stories and ghost-hunting in real life, on TV, in movies? We’ll discuss the psychological and sociocultural reasons and differences in ghost beliefs.
11:30 Did You Check Snopes? Atrium 3
Kathryn Sullivan, Jen Manna, Tyler Tork, Derek Mahr, Emily Finke
In the day of the 24-hour-news cycle, checking your facts before retweeting is crucial. And no, Wikipedia is not a good source.
11:30 GLBTQ Urban Fantasy Atrium 7
JD Horn, Rory Ni Coileain, Nicole Forcine, Kimberley Long-Ewing
What GLBTQ urban fantasy should you be reading? How is this subgenre different from “mainstream” urban fantasy? Should there even BE a difference?
11:30 Science of Sex Bloomington
Bug Girl, Meghan Williams MA LMFT (mod), Anne Lyle, Heina Dadabhoy, Benny S
It’s a necessary biological function. What else can we say about it?

THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY

Sunday, July 6

9:30 Cities of the Future Atrium 4
Jamie Bernstein, Ryan Consell, Shawn Otto, Desiree Schell (mod), William Donohue
What is the ultimate urban fantasy when we envision the cities of the future? What would an ideal city look like to accommodate the demographic, economic, and environment of the future, particularly the effects of climate change?
9:30 Skepchick and Freethought Blogs Author Reading 2201
Brianne Bilyeu (mod)
Join the bloggers of Skepchick and Freethought Blogs as they share their favorite original writings. Topics may include science, social justice, atheism, skepticism, art, online community, blogging and random geekery.
11:00 Bullying and the Bystander Bloomington
Miri Mogilevsky, Amy Roth, Will Robertson, Amanda Marcotte
What can you do to support people who are targets of online bullying and harassment? We’ll discuss what works, what doesn’t, and why, as well as how much of a difference a bystander can make.
11:00 Evaluating Scientific Claims Plaza 1
Siouxsie Wiles, Stephanie Zvan, Shawn Otto, Heina Dadabhoy
You’ve just heard or read about an amazing scientific claim. Where do you go to start vetting the claim or the study, especially if you’re not a scientist? What are the signs that it might be hyped, misleading, or false?
11:00 Protofeminists in Shakespeare Edina
Elizabeth Bear, Ashley F. Miller, Greg Weisman, Joseph Erickson, Alexandra Howes
Shakespeare portrayed several intelligent, independent, and self-aware women–Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Katharine, Beatrice, Viola, Rosalind. We’ll discuss the problematic and the remarkably (for the era) fleshed-out aspects of their representation.
12:30 Loving Problematic Media Plaza 2
Rebecca Watson, Ashley F. Miller, Emily Finke, Courtney Caldwell, Amanda Marcotte
Social justice doesn’t have to ruin your fun! We’ll discuss ways to be a literate fan of problematic media, from reality TV to video games, recognizing (rather than rationalizing) its problems, and still finding ways to enjoy it without getting defensive.
12:30 Once Upon a Time Fan Panel Atrium 7
Olivia James, Alee Ellingsberg, Alice Leber Cook, Sigrid Ellis, Hilary Moon Murphy
A spin-off, Peter Pan, Ariel, another curse reverse, and fantasy family dysfunction–what’s happening in ABC’s fairy kingdoms. Does “…In Wonderland” hold up as well as its parent has?
12:30 Secret Agent 101: Invisible Ink Plaza 3
Dr. Rubidium
Chemist Dr. Burks will guide you through two different invisible ink experiments, and you decide which method is more spy-tastic!
2:00 Science of Group Differences Atrium 6
Will Robertson, Stephanie Zvan, Betsy Lundsten, Desiree Schell (mod)
Men are from Sirius; women are from the Pleiades. Amirite? Let’s talk about all that research on sex and racial differences and what it means in day-to-day life. Is there any significance beyond the statistical?
3:30 Science ‘Fiction’ Journalism Plaza 1
Rob Callahan, Shawn Otto, Debbie Goddard, Stephanie Zvan
When more and more news outlets are dropping their dedicated science staff, what happens to the quality of the news coverage? How much of what we read is just plain wrong, and what can we do about it?
3:30 Urban Legends: Myths, Facts and Half-Truths Atrium 6
Jason Thibeault, Anne Sauer, Naomi Kritzer, Bug Girl, Shawn van Briesen
From alligators in the sewer to clowns in the attic, urban legends walk the line between total absurdity and being just so outrageous that they might be true. Where do these stories come from, and why do they capture our imaginations so effectively?